Goessel Council considers grant for water and sewer

Joe Wuest of Lehigh attended the July 16 Goessel City Council meeting to discuss a grant for water and sewer needs.

Wuest said he has written grants for Lehigh and other small cities in the area and could write one for Goessel. He said cities are considered small if their population is less than 50,000, and especially under 25,000.

Wuest said he has attended numerous workshops sponsored by the Department of Commerce and Housing and knows several people at the state level.

“I have very good contacts up there,” he said. “I understand the city is looking for some help with Emma Creek.”

He said he works with an engineer, Melanie Thrower, who suggested the city consider lining Emma Creek with a concrete liner so the water will flow better and so flood water can be controlled better. She plans to come to the next council meeting.

According to Wuest, the city needs to start the grant process by conducting an income survey. The survey that was done in 1997 showed that 47 percent of Goessel’s residents fell into the low-to-moderate-income (LMI) category. But at least 51 percent of the city’s residents must be LMI in order to qualify for a grant.

The city would not qualify for the other two categories: urban blight, or urgent need.

The median income of the 565 residents identified by the 2000 Census was $39,800.

Mayor Peggy Jay said, “I do feel that the makeup of the community has changed since 1997.”

She thought the LMI might be higher now.

Wuest said that last year all 15 water and sewer grant applications were awarded.

“Fifty-one million dollars have not been used in the water and sewer category alone,” he said. “We can go for at least $400,000.”

He feels it is likely the city would receive a grant. He said the deadline for the grant application will be sometime in 2002. Citizen participation is important for receiving a grant, he added.

Council member Larry Lindeman asked about including streets in the grant, and council member Jim Wiens mentioned the old bridges on Main Street. But Wuest said the city can only apply for one thing at a time.

By consensus the council decided to go ahead with an income survey. Donna Duerksen, Richard Drake and Myron Schmidt, representing a community task force, will proceed. Irene Lehrman is also on the task force.

They first met in December 2000 and came up with a list of infrastructure needs in the Goessel community. Duerksen had attended a special council meeting June 26 and reported that first on the list was the Emma Creek water-flow problem that occurs after heavy rains.

On another matter, Public Works Director Arlen Goertzen reported the sewer maintenance project has been completed. A 7,000-foot length of sewer pipe has been cleaned.

“I had them televise just over 900 feet of line,” he said.

Goertzen showed a video of the sewer inspection, pointing out two joints in the pipe that are leaking and allowing water infiltration.

“We need to get them taken care of,” he said.

He estimated it will cost $1,600 to fix the two joints, including an $800 flat fee for setting up. Goertzen said an additional $3,283 would be needed to grout the bottom of three manholes. One manhole has root intrusion.

“We have not had any sewer backup in anybody’s basement from natural causes since 1993,” Goertzen said. “When we had the big rain in June we didn’t have any backups. We’ve got our lines cleaned, and we’re able to manage. Anita knows I get as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof when it rains. But I didn’t this time because we had our lines cleaned out.”

Wiens made a motion to fix the three manholes and the two joints. The motion received a second and passed.

Goertzen reported the culvert had been installed by Main Street. He also said the sidewalk along the south side of the city building had been poured, even though the outside temperature was hot.

“It was about a thousand degrees out there,” he said.

Goertzen quoted a letter from Ritche Paving saying that it would cost $38,190 to repave Main Street with new pavement that would include two and one-half inches of asphalt. No action was taken on the matter.

Police chief Rollin Schmidt said police officers drove 350 miles in the past month, took one report of kids trying to break into a house because it is supposedly haunted, issued one parking ticket, issued one warning for a barking dog, and issued one notice to appear.

Schmidt asked for a bullet-proof vest for the new part-time policeman, Robert Sieberns. The council approved the request.

In other business:

— The council wishes to remind the public and all employees that smoking is not allowed in the city building/library.

— The council discussed the land near K-15 that Orval Krause owns. Several years ago Krause had told the council of his plan for landscaping that area to make it an entrance to the city. He has not followed through.

— Goertzen reported he had talked to Chris Cox of Schwab Eaton about the water tower project. The soil test results had been sent to the wrong place, which slowed the process.

— The council discussed a recent request from the engine club concerning the Threshing Days parade. Jay said there is not enough time for the city to organize the event, and the club should come to discuss the matter in September or October. The engine club requested another access street to the engine club grounds. No action was taken on the matter.

— City Clerk Anita Goertzen passed around a sign-up sheet for the city’s booth at the state fair. Slots are still open for volunteers.

— The council discussed the new baseball diamonds. It was pointed out that the rookie boys teams are still using the grade-school diamond because they need electricity for the pitching machine. There is no electricity at the new diamonds yet.

Anita Goertzen said, “I’ve heard nothing but good comments about the new baseball diamonds.”

— Arlen Goertzen reported most of the dead trees at the park have been removed, and he has started leveling the dirt. The council discussed the possibility of planting low-maintenance shrubs to replace the trees.

— The council had discussed raising the mill levy at the June 26 special meeting. An increase will be needed to meet the general fund budget in 2002.

The council expressed support for raising the levy by five mills to offset rising costs and unforeseen expenditures. The budget hearing is scheduled for Aug. 16 at 8 p.m.

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